According to Agence France-Presse, the United States will accept between 5,000 and 8,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. This is a modest number when measured on the scale of mass migration – a veritable drop in the bucket compared to the tide sweeping through Europe – but still much larger than what Americans were previously told to expect by their government. Previous statements spoke of less than 2,000 Syrian refugees this year, and an increase of only “a few thousand” in 2016.
The number may very well rise. “State Department spokesman John Kirby also said 15,000 Syrian refugees have been referred to the US for resettlement by the U.N. refugee agency,” writes AFP. “In December, Washington had said it had received 9,000 referrals from the U.N.”
It is further stated that the U.S. has faced criticism for “not taking more of the estimated four million refugees fleeing the civil war that began in 2011.”
The pressure to accept more than even the 8,000 currently floated by the Administration will be great, especially since their Plan B for resolving the refugee crisis isn’t very plausible. “What we’re really committed to is helping to foster the kind of political transition inside Syria, so that it is a safe environment for Syrian people to return, including the millions that are seeking refuge in Turkey right now,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.
What sort of “safe environment” could possibly be engineered in that war-torn hellscape that would persuade these millions of refugees to return home? If the Assad regime doesn’t drop a barrel bomb on their homes, they’re getting kidnapped and murdered by ISIS and al-Qaeda, and now they have to worry about chemical weapons spewing from every corner of the conflict. With a reinvigorated Iran pumping fresh money into the Assad regime thanks to President Obama’s nuclear deal, al-Qaeda fighting for Sunni Islamist relevance, and the Islamic State fighting for its hideous existence, things are likely to get worse in Syria. The official U.N. estimate of the refugee population growing from 4 million to 4.27 million over the next four months is a taste of things to come, and possibly a lowball estimate at that.
No one can blame Syrians for fleeing, or doubt that the refugee situation is a terrible humanitarian crisis, but how exactly did everyone in the Western world become obligated to absorb the Syrian population?
Adding to the pressure against other countries, Germany on Monday announced that all Syrian asylum-seekers would be welcome to remain there, and challenged the rest of Europe to join them. To put the flow of Syrian refugees into the U.S. in perspective, German expects to take eight hundred thousand of them this year.
“All current expulsion orders for Syrian asylum-seekers will be revoked, the government said. New Syrian arrivals will no longer be forced to fill in questionnaires to determine which country they had first arrived in. In the first six months of 2015, Germany registered 44,417 applications from Syrian asylum-seekers,” writes the UK Independent.
This decision is seen as “piling further pressure on other EU countries, including Britain,” to join Germany in suspending the relevant legal protocols. The Independent says British refugee support groups are already urging their government to follow the German example. If they do, they’ll get to watch the vast population of refugees currently camped in Calais march through the Eurotunnel they’ve been trying to storm hundreds of times per night – a host so vast that few even attempt to estimate its size any more. (Syrians are, according to such estimates as exist, only the third- or fourth-largest group of refugees… but does anyone think the others will be told to stand back while only the Syrians are ushered into England? How could the authorities even determine who was Syrian with any confidence… and what would it look like if they tried?)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined French President Francois Hollande in urging the creation of a new asylum policy across all 28 nations of the European Union to deal with what Merkel described as the “exceptional situation” surrounding Syria, which she reasonably predicted “is not going to end soon.”
Merkel dismissed Germans unhappy with her refugee policy as “vile,” and dispatched a spokesman to declare, “Germany is a compassionate country and will not allow refugees to be met here by hateful slogans or alcohol-fuelled loudmouths.”
Some have argued the reluctance of interior European countries to accept refugees is causing a bottleneck in the border states… but won’t letting it be known that every Syrian who makes it to Europe wins automatic no-questions-asked residence increase the flood hitting those border states? Shouldn’t those who castigate the British for creating a dangerous, lucrative human-smuggling market across the Channel also insist their governments provide free, safe transportation across the Mediterranean for those currently risking their lives, and drowning by the hundreds, to reach Italy and Greece?
Imagine how loud the demand for more Syrian, and other Middle Eastern, refugees in the United States will grow as this process accelerates in Europe.